Calls For “Right to Disconnect” Policy for Home Workers

Two thirds of home workers in the UK want to see a new ‘Right to Disconnect’ policy in the forthcoming Employment Bill, new polling from Prospect union has found.  The polling from Opinium found that 66% of those currently working remotely would support the policy, which would require companies to negotiate with their staff and agree rules on when people could not be contacted for work purposes.

The potential downsides of prolonged remote working were explored in the research which found that:

  • 35% of remote workers say their work-related mental health has got worse during the pandemic with 42% saying this is at least partly a result of inability to switch off from work
  • In total 32% of remote workers say they are finding it hard to fully switch off from work
  • 30% of remote workers report working more unpaid hours than before the pandemic (with 18% working at least 4 additional unpaid hours per week)

Prospect say the figures reveal the ‘dark side’ of remote working and that legislative change is needed to help deal with the consequences of the continuation of mass working from home after the pandemic.

The union has urged Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to include the Right to Disconnect in a consultation in advance of the Employment Bill, which is expected to be included in May’s Queen’s Speech.

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